No plans to topple Tory minority: Layton

NDP Leader Jack Layton says he has no plan with the Liberals and the Bloc to immediately launch a non-confidence motion if the Conservatives are re-elected with another minority government on May 2.

Harper aimed to become PM in 2004, NDP leader tells CBC's Peter Mansbridge

Jack Layton interview

11 years ago
Duration 17:49
Peter Mansbridge speaks with NDP Leader Jack Layton on the campaign trail near Charlottetown

NDP Leader Jack Layton says he has no plan with the Liberals and the Bloc to immediately launch a non-confidence motion if the Conservatives are re-elected with another minority government on May 2.

"There have been no discussions about that. He [Harper] gets the first shot. The question will be: Is he willing to work with other parties?" Layton said in an exclusive interview with Peter Mansbridge airing on The National on Monday night.

Throughout the campaign, Harper has said it is "wrong" for opposition parties to think they can form a government without being elected and has insisted Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff will form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc if Canadians don't elect a majority Conservative government.

The National: The Ignatieff interview

CBC Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge interviews Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff live at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday on CBC News Network. And watch the interview tonight on The National.

Layton said "there's no question" Harper's goal in 2004 talks with his party and the Bloc Quebecois was to become prime minister.

Harper has also denied that he was trying to topple the Martin government and seize power in 2004.

Layton told Mansbridge that Harper is "fabricating things here." Layton said the Conservative leader, who was then the Leader of the Official Opposition, was the driving force for the "arrangement" with other opposition parties at the time.

"We were called together by Stephen Harper to send a letter to the governor general to make it clear that if Paul Martin was defeated by the speech from the throne, she should turn to the other parties to govern," Layton told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge on board his campaign bus near Charlottetown.

"There was no question about it that the ultimate goal here was for Stephen Harper to become prime minister."

The NDP leader's remarks to Mansbridge, the CBC's chief correspondent, came while he took part in an ongoing interview series on The National with all the federal party leaders. An interview with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May  aired April 8. An interview with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff airs Tuesday, while a date has not been set for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

Layton said he started having doubts about the 2004 plan that was to be presented to then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson.

In a "one-on-one" conversation with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, Layton said he questioned whether to go ahead with the plan.

"I said 'Are you ready to make Stephen Harper prime minister?' and he said he was," Layton said. "And I said, 'Well I'm not.' "

"So with that, did it collapse?" Mansbridge asked Layton.

"Well, it then didn't have the necessary oomph to come to be," Layton replied.

Hopes for a surge

The interview, conducted during an NDP tour through three Atlantic provinces late last week touched on a number of areas, including New Democrat hopes for a surge in voter support leading up to Election Day.

Various national polls on Monday suggest Layton's New Democrats increasing their support, especially in Quebec.

"We'll have to see late at night on May 2 whether we've made that quantum type of leap," Layton said.

"I think we're laying the groundwork for it."

When asked about the difference between his party and the Liberals under Michael Ignatieff, the 60-year-old NDP leader offered a blunt summation.

"The major difference is that we are committing to get things done; they've made commitments and then turned right around and broken those commitments time and time again," he said.